A Rebuke of the False Eschatology of Kelly Bowring


In a recent blog post, titled Prophecy Unfolding: The Current Pope, the False Church, and The Great Warning, Dr. Kelly Bowring continues his schismatic and heretical attack on the Roman Pontiff and the one true Church. Bowring interprets various claimed private revelations, some true private revelations and some false, to the conclusion that the Pope and the Church have gone astray. But his claims are contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium.

Kelly Bowring says he has been “writing and speaking on Catholic prophecy for the past 10 years.” Well, I too have been writing about private revelation and biblical prophecy, for the past 20 years. My first book of Catholic eschatology, the Bible and the Future, is copyrighted 1997. And based on my 20 years’ experience studying, interpreting, and writing eschatology, I can tell you that the true prophesies of Sacred Scripture and the prophesies of private revelation are open to a wide range of interpretations. So no one can rightly use an interpretation of prophesy to contradict any dogma or teaching of the Church. The teachings of the Magisterium are always more sure than the interpretation of a prophecy. So it is absurd to claim that the faithful should reject the Roman Pontiff and reject the Church led by him, as if both he and the Church were false, based on interpretation of prophecy.

Moreover, there are many false private revelations in the world today — over 200 that I have evaluated and condemned: Claims of Private Revelation: True or False?. And one of the most clear signs that a claimed revelation is false is any assertion or narrative that portrays the Church or the Pope as having gone astray.

So please do not be fooled by any list of quotes from private revelation, presented as if they prove that the Pope or the Church has gone astray or has become false or evil. Many different interpretations of any prophecy are possible. In my own works of eschatology, which are more numerous and more comprehensive than those of Bowring, I interpret some of these same quotes, without detriment or harm to the Pope and the true Church.

False prophets and antipopes and a false Church may possibly arise, in the future, but always apart from the one true Church. Never at any time does the one true Church on earth pass away, nor can She ever be taken over by evil or by a false prophet or a false pope. And never at any time does the institutional Church, led by the Roman Pontiff, become a false Church.

Some private revelations discussing a false Church and an antipope are simply false private revelation, such as the now-discredited claimed private revelations of a woman who calls herself “Maria Divine Mercy”. Bowring continues to claim that her revelations are true, even though her claims have been condemned by the Church as false. About Maria Divine Mercy and her messages of claimed private revelation, the Bishop of Brisbane declares:

“I have examined some of these messages and found them to be patently fraudulent and corrosive of true Christian faith as the Catholic Church teaches it…. The messages contain certain theological and historical errors some of which fall within the category of bogus millenarianism, and they are more likely to provoke fear rather than the peace of the Spirit. They play on elements of the Catholic faith only to undermine it at its core. Moreover, they are outrageous in their claims against Pope Francis.”

Yet Bowring continues to reference, quote, promote, defend, and advance the content of those messages, often without telling the reader that the source of those claims is this false visionary, rejected by the Church.


Since the Church is indefectible, God never permits the worldwide institutional Church, led by the Bishops of the world in each diocese, to be led by an antipope or invalid pope or false prophet. For then the Church could not be said to be indefectible. The Pope is the head of the Church; if the head is corrupted, then so is the body. The Pope is the pilot of the Ark of Salvation; if the pilot has gone astray, then the Ship guided by him would also have gone astray. So when Jesus said that the Church is indefectible, He specifically gave as the reason that She is led by Peter and each of his successors. Neither the Church, nor the Pope, can go astray.

See my post: What Saint Bellarmine really said about Popes and Heresy

So when any Pope is accepted by the Bishops of the world, this acceptance is the work of the Holy Spirit, confirming his election and his papacy as valid. No invalid Pope can ever have that acceptance, which is of the Spirit of God. And if, from time to time, a Cardinal or Bishop, or a few of them, oppose or reject any Pope, this does not invalidate his papacy. For Peter led the Apostles, which included Judas. Yet Peter was a valid Pope. A Bishop or Cardinal can be a Judas, but no Pope, accepted by the whole Church, can be a type of Judas. The prevenient grace of God prevents it, for the sake of Christ’s promise to preserve the Church and for the sake of our salvation.

The Magisterium has always taught that the Church is indefectible. She can never go astray, nor lead anyone astray, and Her teachings can never lead us away from the path of salvation. For Jesus promised that the Church Herself and each successor of Peter would never go astray, and would always withstand even the gates of Hell:

{16:18} And I say to you, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.

{22:32} But I have prayed for you, so that your faith may not fail, and so that you, once converted, may confirm your brothers.

The First Vatican Council interpreted these passages to mean that each successor of Peter has the “gift of truth and never-failing faith” which is “divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this See so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine.”

Therefore, any kind of claim that the Church or the Pope has gone astray is contrary to the Gospel, contrary to the dogma on the indefectibility of the Church, and contrary to the teaching of Vatican I on the never-failing faith of each Pope. No Pope can teach heresy. No Pope can commit heresy. And no valid Pope can become invalid by teaching heresy or by committing heresy.

Heresy and Schism

In his post, Bowring claims that the Church has lost Her indefectibility and has gone astray. He is therefore guilty of heresy, by denying the dogma of the indefectibility of the Church. And the indefectibility of the Church cannot be interpreted to mean only that a small remnant of the Church remains faithful, while the Pope and the body of Bishops and the worldwide institutional Church goes astray. That is not indefectibility.

Furthermore, Bowring sins by his rejection of the authority of Pope Francis over the one true Church, declaring Pope Francis to be a false prophet and the leader of a false Church. Therefore, Bowring has also committed public formal schism.

Although he complains that the divorced and remarried should not be permitted to receive holy Communion, Kelly Bowring himself is guilty of teaching heresy, guilty of adhering to heresy, and guilty of formal schism, and therefore he is automatically excommunicated and prohibited from holy Communion. As an automatically excommunicated heretical and schismatic theologian, Bowring is not “in good standing”, as he claims.

His sins of heresy and schism are clear in his most recent post and in his past posts on the same topic.

Misinterpretations of Private Revelation

Bowring quotes many different claimed private revelations, some true and some false, along with the claim that these prophecies prove that Pope Francis is a false prophet and an invalid pope and that the Church has gone astray and become a false Church. Most of the quotes say no such thing, and do not even seem open to a misinterpretation in support of such claims. So I will limit my comments to three main points:

1. In support of his accusations against the Pope and the Church, Bowring cites:

“St. Faustina’s descriptions of the Great Warning and the time of Mercy being granted to prepare the world for Christ’s Second Coming and her ominous writing in her diary that her “worst day of suffering” where she felt as if she was in Gethsemane where Jesus was betrayed by Judas was the SAME EXACT DAY POPE FRANCIS WAS BORN on December 17, 1936,”

So, St. Faustina’s diary does contain an entry dated December 17th. But it is a diary written frequently, and written over the course of several years. So it is not surprising that there is an entry that corresponds to very many dates from the calendar year. I suppose you could go through the important dates for the lives of each of the past dozen or more Popes, and easily find entries with a date that matches some event in each of their lives. It is not an amazing coincidence that she has an entry with the “SAME EXACT DAY POPE FRANCIS WAS BORN”.

Faustina does not write the phrase, which Bowring puts in quotes — “worst day of suffering” — anywhere in her diary. Her diary is available in a searchable PDF file online; no such phrase appears. The entry for December 17th, 1936 begins with paragraph number 823, and the set of paragraphs for that day do not mention Judas or betrayal. She did say that she suffered “more today than ever before” and had a taste of the bitterness of Gethsemane. But nothing is said specifically about Judas or betrayal.

St. Faustina says, in that entry (#823) “I have offered this day for priests.” If one wished to associate this entry with Pope Francis, the only reasonable association would be positive. St. Faustina offered her prayers and sufferings of that day for the priests of the Church, of which Pope Francis is now the high priest and leader of priests and bishops (and leader of all the faithful). But Bowring rejects Pope Francis, and twists the words of a Saint in order to utter calumny against Christ and His Church and His Vicar. Yes, I say again, against Christ himself. For when Saul persecuted the early Church, Jesus asked him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” [Acts 9:4]. Kelly Bowring is persecuting Christ by attacking His Church and His Vicar, Pope Francis.

2. Bowring misinterprets the famous prophecy attributed to St. Malachy.

Bowring claims that the prophecy: “states unequivocally that Pope Benedict is the last Pope on earth and that after him St. Peter the Roman, the first Pope, would rule the Church from Heaven as the Church of Rome is destroyed just before the Second Coming of Christ to judge the world.”

It says no such thing. And that interpretation is unique to Bowring. Saint Malachy’s prophetic list of popes is well-known, and many persons have attempted differing interpretations. None have said that the list means that Pope Benedict — widely considered to correspond to the next to last entry on the list (“the glory of the olive”) — would be the last pope. He’s the next to last entry. And no one but Bowring claims that the very last entry means that Saint Peter the Apostle would rule the Church from Heaven.

So it is ridiculous for him to say that this prophecy of St. Malachy states such claims “unequivocally”. But does the prophecy say, as Bowring claims, that “the Church of Rome is destroyed”?? No, it does not.

Here is what St. Malachy said about Peter the Roman, the last Pope on his list: “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there shall reign Peter the Roman who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the terrible judge will judge the people.”

So the Pope called “Peter the Roman” feeds his flock “amid many tribulations”. To my mind, that refers to the role of the Roman Pontiff on earth, helping the flock of Jesus Christ on earth, in the midst of sufferings. No one but Bowring has interpreted that passage to mean that Peter the Apostle rules the Church, as if he were Pope again, but from Heaven.

And the prophecy does NOT say that the Church is destroyed, but rather that the “seven-hilled city”, that is to say, the city of Rome, will be destroyed AFTER the final persecution of the Church (which has not happened yet), and BEFORE God judges the people. So Bowring’s interpretation is not supported by the actual text of the prophecy.

My interpretation of the prophecy of St. Malachy is that Peter the Roman is every Pope after Pope Benedict XVI, that is to say, every Pope from the start of the first part of the tribulation during the pontificate of Pope Francis, through many subsequent pontificates and many generations, until the end of the second part of the tribulation, in the distant future. So Peter the Roman, in my view, is every Pope from now on, beginning with Pope Francis, because the tribulation will begin soon. But the tribulation is divided into two parts, and extends over a few hundred years with a long inter-tribulation period between the two parts. The end is not so soon, just as Jesus said.

During the pontificate of Pope Saint John Paul II, I wrote, in one of my books of eschatology, about the prophecy of Saint Malachy. And I gave my interpretation of the next Pope on the list, who would be the next Pope after John Paul II, and whose description was given by Malachy as “the glory of the olive”. My interpretation, at that time, published publicly and noted by many of my readers, was that the Pope after John Paul II would take the papal name Benedict. And that interpretation turned out to be correct. So perhaps my interpretation of the prophecy of Malachy on Peter the Roman is worth considering.

3. Kelly Bowring cites several sources, some of them reliable, which predict a trial for the faithful during the tribulation consisting of an antipope or false prophet, and a false Church.

First of all, we must begin by putting our faith in the teaching of our Lord that the one true Church cannot go astray, because she is led by each successor of Peter, and that our Lord, just as he promised, will secure the faith of each successor of Peter. This interpretation of the Gospel is from the teaching of the Magisterium at the First Vatican Council, and so it is definitive and authoritative. All opinions to the contrary are error.

So the Church will continue, through the entire tribulation, indefectible, and with each successor of Peter having the gifts of truth and a never-failing faith.

In the past, the Church endured a number of antipopes, NONE of whom ever was accepted by the body of Bishops nor the body of the faithful worldwide. So it is unfortunate that the Church will, in the future, suffer from some antipopes. But no future antipope will ever govern the body of Bishops and the whole flock of Christ worldwide. And the succession of true Popes will continue.

My interpretation of this type of prophecy, explained at length in my books, is that a prominent antipope will reign over a false Church, at the same time as the true Pope reigns over the true Church. So the true Pope will reign over the one universal Church on earth, supported by the body of Bishops, each over his own diocese. I don’t believe it will be confusing for those who remain faithful to the teaching of Christ and His Church as to which is the true Pope. The election of this prominent antipope, in my speculative eschatology, occurs after the reign of the next pope after Pope Francis. (So the order of events is Pope Francis, then the next valid Pope, then two elections for the subsequent pope, one valid election and one invalid election.) But the antipope who is elected is never accepted by the body of Bishops. His Church is not the one true Church and is not readily mistaken for the one true Church. And the true Pope and true Church continue at the same time.

God never permits the one true Church to be ruled by an antipope or invalid pope or false prophet nor by the antichrist. God never permits the succession of true Popes to be broken, such that the Cardinals elect a false pope or a heretic or a false prophet or antichrist. For the Church is the body of Christ.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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4 Responses to A Rebuke of the False Eschatology of Kelly Bowring

  1. jeff kassab says:

    your writings are excellent and on point about Kelly Bowring, I’ve been posting your writings everywhere to make people aware of his false teachings. thank you Jeff Kassab

  2. Michael says:

    Thanks for this post Ron. I have one of Bowring’s books in my library which I’ve yet to read. Given his heretical interpretations that you’ve pointed out, I’ll gladly place the book in the trash instead.

  3. Matt says:

    Ron, have you e-mailed Kelly Bowring about your rebuke of his false teachings? If not, is it okay I e-mail him your post? Someone needs to put him in his place as he is misleading many good people thinking that Pope Francis is not the true Pope.

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